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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Palestinian Arabs’

Another Capitulation

Monday, November 14th, 2011

We have now lived in Israel for more years than we lived in the USA, and our joy in living in Israel knows no bounds. We are living in our homeland with our people. We loved America and are proud to be American citizens, but Israel is our home. We strive each day to keep our focus on the wonderful things that life in Israel offers. We are happy that Israel and the USA are allies and help each other. Unfortunately, we are often upset and concerned by the political situation and by the attitude of the world to the Jews.

 

Israel has again been forced to make a major concession to the Arabs. The building of new structures in our community will be halted for the next 10 months (as is all building in Judea and Samaria). The Arabs have made no pledges in return. Nothing. They have not even pledged to stop murdering Jews, and they are complaining that the building freeze is not enough. These “moderate” Arabs want more before they will even sit down to talk to us. We wonder what value any agreement with “moderate” Abu Mazen would have.

 

The main factions among the Palestinian Arabs are the “moderate” PLO terrorists and the violent Hamas terrorists. The world wants us to capitulate to Abu Mazen, but Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and much of Judea and Samaria, has declared that the “moderates” may not negotiate in its name and that it will not be bound by any agreements.

 

Why stop building in Judea and Samaria just because a new U.S. President wants us to? Few Jews seem to wonder how the president can, on one hand, send in thousands of new troops to Afghanistan, while demanding that Jews negotiate with the Palestinian Arabs. America’s forced rule over countries like Afghanistan and Iraq are OK because it is in America’s interest. America can invade, rule and send more troops to kill the local population and, I guess that is reasonable, even though the Afghanis are not murdering American civilians. Yet, in America’s view, Israel must negotiate with the murderers of local Jewish civilians and may not send in troops to kill the terrorists.

 

If we must negotiate with terrorists whose main manifesto is to murder Jews and throw us into the sea, why doesn’t the president of the USA not sit down and negotiate with the Afghanis and Iraqis?  Why sacrifice American servicemen/women for these Arab terrorist countries? Let them kill each other if that is what they want. How can the president, in good conscience, send more troops to murder locals in one sector of the Middle East, while forcing Israel to negotiate with the terrorists in its sector? Sorry, Mr. President, despite all of our respect for America, you must realize that it is impossible to negotiate with Arab terrorists.

 

Unfortunately, Israeli leaders feel that they must capitulate to incredible demands from Hamas terrorists. There is little long-range planning or thinking on the part of Israeli politicians. Israel has captured hundreds of terrorists, some before they murdered Jews, some after. The Arabs have kidnapped one soldier, Gilad Shalit. In return for this one kidnapped soldier, the terrorists are demanding the freeing of hundreds of their fellow terrorists. If the Arabs had, G-d forbid, kidnapped one of my children, I would be doing exactly what the Shalit family is doing. I would demand that Israel free all of the terrorist prisoners so that my child would be freed. Like the Shalit family, I would speak to every world politician willing to hear me out, to solicit his or her help to free my child. No price would be too high to pay.

Title: The Borders of Inequality: Where Wealth and Poverty Collide

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Title: The Borders of Inequality: Where Wealth and Poverty Collide


Author: By Iñigo Moré


Publisher: University of Arizona Press


 


 


   Behind “the news” there’s almost always a story that isn’t being reported, and certain kinds of phenomenon occur almost simultaneously all over the world in almost every era.

 

   Thus the juxtaposition of Israelis and Palestinian Arabs across several mid-Eastern borders almost equals the disparity between Mexicans and Americans, and quite a few other “hot spots” around the globe.

 

   Moré’s thesis is that it is that disparity of income that helps to create phenomena, such as the smuggling of illicit drugs from poverty-stricken countries such as Mexico into Southern states of Continental U.S., and even from Egypt through Gaza into Israel.

 

   Aside from the occasional rocket attacks and violence aimed at Israel from within the Gaza Strip, and the occasional Suicide Bomber crossing into Israel, the much less publicized story is that a steady stream of illicit drugs are crossing those borders to feed the bad habits of many thousands of addicted Israelis.

 

   Of course, we readily see the vast extent of Israeli compulsion in asocial habits of cigarette smoking and use of chewing tobacco, as well as alcoholic beverages, but the relatively high income of Israelis makes them a target for the importation of illicit and illegal products entering on all sides.

 

   Another aspect of the fluidity of borders are the illegal immigration of laborers for industries dependent upon the unskilled physical laborers, for restaurants, warehouses and other industries not requiring personnel who are fluent in language and other specialized skills. In America they stream across the Rio Grande – in Israel they are flown in from South Asia.

 

   Sometimes the immigration is officially sponsored, such as what The U.S. did to grant immigrant status to many Cambodians and Vietnamese, or Israel gathering in Jews, including Falashas from Ethiopia and the B’nai Israel from India, but often it is not as well publicized as the Cuban emigration to The U.S., or the North Korean emigration to Israel, but the story – including that of Palestinian Arabs and Israelis is never clear cut and often multi-faceted.

 

   In chapter 3 we learn that from 2003 through 2011 the South Central Border unit of the Israeli border police seized 10 tons of marijuana, 14 tons of contraband tobacco, 6 kilos of hashish and 750 grams of heroin, and had arrested 88 people, most of whom are Israeli citizens or Egyptians. Coincidentally, our own country – The U.S. – has a problem with the illegal importation of an hallucinogenic drug, Ecstasy, which is one of the current “Club Drugs” of choice – resulting in quite frequent arrests of American and Israeli drug dealers by both American and Israeli drug enforcement agency personnel, often working in collaboration.

Hebron Jews: A Community of Memory

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

No Jews are as relentlessly reviled as the Jews of Hebron. Vilified as the pariahs of the Jewish people – “zealots,” “fanatics” and “fundamentalists” who illegally “occupy” someone else’s land – they are the militant Jewish settlers whom legions of critics in Israel, the United States and throughout the world love to hate. It is seldom noticed that their most serious transgression, settlement in the biblical Land of Israel, defines Zionism: the return of Jews to their historic homeland.

Living in the ancient biblical city south of Jerusalem, Hebron Jews are clustered near Me’arat HaMachpelah, the Cave of Machpelah, the oldest Jewish holy site in the world. There, according to Jewish tradition, Abraham purchased the first parcel of land owned by the Jewish people in their promised land to bury Sarah.

There, too, the patriarchs and matriarchs – Abraham, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah – were entombed. Jews have lived and prayed in Hebron and made pilgrimages to the Machpelah shrine ever since biblical antiquity. Conquered, massacred, expelled and exiled over the centuries, they have always remembered Hebron and they have always returned.

Hebron Jews are a unique community of Jewish memory. Their insistence on living in their ancient city expresses the fierce determination to return to the geographical and spiritual source of Jewish history in the Land of Israel. Ever since Abraham’s purchase Hebron has been deeply embedded in Jewish history and myth.

Centuries before Jerusalem became King David’s city, home to the sacred Temples on Mount Zion and then an enduring symbol of the unquenchable yearning of Jews to return to their ancient homeland, Hebron already was a source of Jewish memory and a locus of Jewish piety. And ever since Joseph and his brothers brought the body of their father Jacob from Egypt for burial in the Cave of Machpelah, Jews have always returned to Hebron.

One of the four ancient holy cities (along with Jerusalem, Safed and Tiberias), Hebron was honored in antiquity with designation as a city of refuge and a priestly city. It became King David’s first capital, an important administrative center for King Hezekiah in his eighth-century war against the Assyrians, and a crucial battleground during the Maccabean and Bar Kochba uprisings. There, at the beginning of the Common Era, King Herod built the massive stone enclosure around the burial tombs that remains the oldest intact structure in the entire Land of Israel.

 

* * * * *

But Jews were not alone in finding sacred meaning and inspiration in Hebron. Over the centuries, Christians and Muslims attempted to make Hebron exclusively theirs, expelling and excluding Jews to nullify challenges to their own claims of patrimony.

Beginning in the mid-thirteenth century, Muslim rulers prohibited Jews (and other “infidels”) from entering Machpelah to pray at the tombs, permitting them to ascend no higher than the seventh step outside the enclosure. But itinerant Jewish travelers persisted in making pilgrimages to the ancient burial site and some elderly Jews moved to Hebron to be buried near their biblical ancestors.

Following the expulsions from Spain at the end of the fifteenth century, a small group of pious Jews built a community of study and prayer in Hebron on land purchased for them by a wealthy benefactor. Sephardic Jews trickled in from villages and cities in the Middle East, subsequently joined by Hasidim from Eastern Europe. They comprised a community whose foundations rested on the bedrock of the biblical narrative. Gathered around the Avraham Avinu (“Our Father Abraham”) synagogue, in a dark and cramped quarter adjacent to the market in the center of town, they clung tenaciously to their precarious foothold, dependent for economic survival largely on emissaries dispatched to benefactors scattered throughout the Jewish world.

During much of the nineteenth century, a time of impressive community expansion, Hebron Jews maintained relatively harmonious, if largely subservient, relations with their Muslim neighbors. Hebron became widely known for its scholarship and learning; aspiring young scholars came to study with venerated rabbis. By mid-century, pioneering archaeologists testified to its antiquity while talented artists such as David Roberts and William H. Bartlett depicted its sacred allure, placing Hebron on the expanding map of Holy Land tourism. Yeshivas sprouted, a medical clinic opened, and the first paved road from Jerusalem linked Hebron to other Jewish communities in Ottoman Palestine.

But in 1929, after nearly a decade of British rule following World War I, Hebron experienced another of the horrific pogroms that had long punctuated Jewish history, from Granada (1066) to Kishinev (1903). As Arab rioting swept through Palestine, the 400-year-old Hebron Jewish community was suddenly attacked and brutally decimated. Sixty-seven Jews were murdered; scores were assaulted, severely wounded, even mutilated.

After British soldiers removed traumatized survivors from their homes and evacuated them to Jerusalem, Hebron – foreshadowing so many other communities in the years to come – became Judenrein. Two years later an attempt to rebuild failed. During Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, Hebron was conquered and absorbed by the Kingdom of Jordan. In the old Jewish Quarter any remnants of its Jewish past – synagogues, yeshivas, even the ancient cemetery – were virtually obliterated.

* * * * *

 

When the Israel Defense Forces swept into biblical Judea and Samaria near the end of the Six-Day War in June 1967, Hebron – along with Jerusalem – was restored to Jewish control after 2,000 years. For the first time since 1267, Jews could pray inside the Machpelah enclosure, at the tombs of their ancestors.

The following spring, a group of predominantly religious Zionists, led by Rabbi Moshe Levinger, came to Hebron to celebrate Passover, reclaim their biblical patrimony and rebuild the destroyed community of 1929. They formed the ideological vanguard of the Jewish settlement movement that has since embedded 300,000 Israelis in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), earning worldwide enmity for their presence on land inhabited by 1.5 million Palestinian Arabs.

Hebron Jews embrace a synthesis of religion and nationalism that is anathema to most modern Jews, whether or not they live in Israel. Their religious nationalism infuriates secular Israelis, whose Zionist identity was forged in rebellion against the religion of Diaspora Jews. It antagonizes Diaspora Jews, whose religion must remain separate from nationality to demonstrate loyalty to the nation whose citizenship they hold. With their impassioned blend of Zionist nationalism and religious Judaism blamed for undermining Israeli democracy and jeopardizing Middle Eastern peace efforts, Hebron Jews may be the only Jews in the world whose critics can viciously malign them without incurring the taint of anti-Semitism.

The history of the Jewish community of Hebron is deeply rooted in the biblical narrative. In Genesis, the book of Torah that spans the epoch from divine creation to the death of Joseph in Egypt, Hebron commands conspicuous attention. In meticulous detail, Genesis 23:1-20 recounts Sarah’s death “in Kiryat Arba – now Hebron – in the land of Canaan,” and Abraham’s acquisition of a burial place there. It might plausibly be concluded that Jewish history, as we now know it, began in Hebron.

In many passages sprinkled throughout the text, the Hebrew Bible enjoins memory. Its frequently reiterated and braided commands – “zachor” (remember), and “lo tishkach” (do not forget) – assured Jewish survival through centuries, indeed millennia, of dispersion. Jewish history and memory are inextricably entwined, and no community of Jews is more tenaciously committed to the preservation of historical memory than the Jews of Hebron. But their determination to remember, in the very place where Jewish memory may be said to have originated, places them at the epicenter of a polarizing conflict within contemporary Israel – as acrimonious as the struggle between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs – over the identity and boundaries of the Jewish state.

Hebron Jews are widely condemned by legions of critics for misguided political and religious fanaticism that could propel Israel into a disastrous holy war with Arabs, or a wrenching civil war between Jews. Yet they remain fiercely determined to remember what most Jews have long since forgotten.

In June 1967, when Israel looked into the abyss of annihilation and won a miraculous victory in six days, Jews regained possession of their holy places in Jerusalem and Hebron. Before long, Jews returned to Hebron, not only in celebration and prayer but also to rebuild the destroyed community. “With the sword in one hand and the Bible in the other,” wrote Israeli journalist Amos Elon disapprovingly, Hebron settlers had the temerity to insist that “deeds contracted in the late Bronze Age are the legal and moral basis for present claims” – as though biblical roots in the Land of Israel were not the deepest source of Zionism itself.

Here was a new and passionate cohort of Zionists, settling the Land of Israel precisely as their Zionist forbears had done – only to be reviled for their Zionist apostasy.

 

* * * * *

The story of Hebron Jews since the Six-Day War is nothing less than the history of Zionism writ small: the astonishing return of a people to its ancient homeland. They are Zionists whose nationalism rests explicitly on the divine promise of the land of Israel to the Jewish people. As religious nationalists, they have restored an ancient Jewish synthesis that was stifled during the long centuries of exile and all but eradicated by Jewish modernity. Responding to the central impulse in Jewish and Zionist history, they returned “home” to the biblical Land of Israel, and to the first landholding of the Jewish people there – only to be scathingly vilified ever since.

Far outside the secular Zionist consensus that molds mainstream Israeli culture and identity, the Hebron Jewish community nonetheless exemplifies the theme of exile and return that has framed Jewish memory at least since the Babylonian conquest in 586 B.C.E., if not since the biblical Exodus from Egypt.

Hebron is now home to 700 Jewish inhabitants and 200 yeshiva students, residing in a partitioned city inhabited by 160,000 Palestinian Arabs. Living where few Jews can even imagine visiting, they pay a high price in physical danger, material privation and government hostility for the opportunity to rebuild their community on the foundations of biblical memories, ancient Israelite glory, and modern Jewish tragedy. They see themselves as guardians of the deed of title that secured not only a burial place for their biblical ancestors but also a perpetual landholding for the Jewish people. Replacing the destroyed community of 1929, they assert their claim as the rightful heirs of their martyred predecessors.

Hebron Jews are distinctive for their passionate determination to remember the past – by choosing to live where its ancient unfolding in the Land of Israel began. “The ability to recall and identify with our past,” historian David Lowenthal has written, “gives existence meaning, purpose and value.” Responding to those who criticize reverence for the past, he wisely observes: “Intense devotion to the pursuit of the past is not so grievous an affliction as to lack feeling for the past altogether.”

If the Hebrew Bible is the ultimate mandate for Zionism, as David Ben-Gurion affirmed to puzzled British royal commissioners some seventy years ago, then Zion surely includes Hebron (as he assertively claimed after the Six-Day war). If Jews relinquish their right to live in Hebron they undermine their claim to live anywhere in their biblical homeland. If a history of defeats, expulsions, exiles – and surrenders – are determinative, then Jews become trespassers in their own homeland, and the Zionist claim to the right of return evaporates.

Ever since the destruction of the Temple, Jews have been taught that sinat chinam – groundless hatred – is the most invidious menace to Jewish survival. Jews who find the synthesis of Zionism and Judaism so threatening that only the eradication of a Jewish presence from Hebron can ease their discomfort are secular zealots chasing the siren song of assimilation. To abandon the Jews of Hebron is to relinquish the claims of memory that bind Jews to each other, to their ancient homeland, and to their shared past and future.

Jewish prayer resonates with pleas from the prophet Jeremiah for return “within our borders.” Immediately preceding the affirmation of the Shema, a Jew recites: “Bring us in peacefulness from the four corners of the earth and lead us with upright pride to our land.” The Musaf prayer implores: “bring us up in gladness to our land and plant us within our boundaries.” These ancient religious pleas, as it happens, also define the essence of Zionism. For the Jews of Hebron, Judaism and Zionism are inseparable.

Where Jews now live, the world expects a Palestinian state to arise. Abandonment of the ancient homeland will be the price that secular Zionists will gladly pay to finally squelch the challenge of religious Zionism. With the implementation of “land for peace,” tens of thousands of religious Zionists would be torn from their homes, and Israel would relinquish its millennia-old claim to the biblical homeland of the Jewish people. The sacrifice of Judea and Samaria and the accompanying abandonment of Me’arat HaMachpelah in Hebron would fulfill the secular Zionist dream of Israeli normalization.

Unencumbered by ancient holy sites, Israel could finally become “a nation like other nations,” and the legitimacy of secular Zionism as the true faith would be forever secured. Whether Zionism retains any connection to the hallowed ancient sources and sites of Jewish history may yet turn on the fate of the tiny Jewish community in Hebron.

Confronting the constant threat of Palestinian terrorism, lacerated by Israeli cultural and intellectual elites, and stifled by their own government, Hebron Jews are likely to remain under siege, the pariahs of the Jewish people. But for these tenacious Jews, the past has never been “a foreign country.”

In Hebron, a community of Jewish memory unlike any other, the past will always be home.

Jerold S. Auerbach is a professor of history at Wellesley College. This essay was excerpted from his book “Hebron Jews: Memory and the Conflict in the Land of Israel” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009). He is currently writing a book about the Altalena.

Another Capitulation

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

    We have now lived in Israel for more years than we lived in the USA, and our joy in living in Israel knows no bounds. We are living in our homeland with our people. We loved America and are proud to be American citizens, but Israel is our home. We strive each day to keep our focus on the wonderful things that life in Israel offers. We are happy that Israel and the USA are allies and help each other. Unfortunately, we are often upset and concerned by the political situation and by the attitude of the world to the Jews.

 

    Israel has again been forced to make a major concession to the Arabs. The building of new structures in our community will be halted for the next 10 months (as is all building in Judea and Samaria). The Arabs have made no pledges in return. Nothing. They have not even pledged to stop murdering Jews, and they are complaining that the building freeze is not enough. These “moderate” Arabs want more before they will even sit down to talk to us. We wonder what value any agreement with “moderate” Abu Mazen would have.

 

    The main factions among the Palestinian Arabs are the “moderate” PLO terrorists and the violent Hamas terrorists. The world wants us to capitulate to Abu Mazen, but Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and much of Judea and Samaria, has declared that the “moderates” may not negotiate in its name and that it will not be bound by any agreements.

 

    Why stop building in Judea and Samaria just because a new U.S. President wants us to? Few Jews seem to wonder how the president can, on one hand, send in thousands of new troops to Afghanistan, while demanding that Jews negotiate with the Palestinian Arabs. America’s forced rule over countries like Afghanistan and Iraq are OK because it is in America’s interest. America can invade, rule and send more troops to kill the local population and, I guess that is reasonable, even though the Afghanis are not murdering American civilians. Yet, in America’s view, Israel must negotiate with the murderers of local Jewish civilians and may not send in troops to kill the terrorists.

 

    If we must negotiate with terrorists whose main manifesto is to murder Jews and throw us into the sea, why doesn’t the president of the USA not sit down and negotiate with the Afghanis and Iraqis?  Why sacrifice American servicemen/women for these Arab terrorist countries? Let them kill each other if that is what they want. How can the president, in good conscience, send more troops to murder locals in one sector of the Middle East, while forcing Israel to negotiate with the terrorists in its sector? Sorry, Mr. President, despite all of our respect for America, you must realize that it is impossible to negotiate with Arab terrorists.

 

    Unfortunately, Israeli leaders feel that they must capitulate to incredible demands from Hamas terrorists. There is little long-range planning or thinking on the part of Israeli politicians. Israel has captured hundreds of terrorists, some before they murdered Jews, some after. The Arabs have kidnapped one soldier, Gilad Shalit. In return for this one kidnapped soldier, the terrorists are demanding the freeing of hundreds of their fellow terrorists. If the Arabs had, G-d forbid, kidnapped one of my children, I would be doing exactly what the Shalit family is doing. I would demand that Israel free all of the terrorist prisoners so that my child would be freed. Like the Shalit family, I would speak to every world politician willing to hear me out, to solicit his or her help to free my child. No price would be too high to pay.

 

    But the prime minister of Israel and his political cabinet are responsible for weighing the long-range situation. How many Jews will be murdered by the freed terrorists, or by those Arabs, who will understand that even if they commit acts of terror they will be freed when their friends kidnap another Jew? It is sad that the Israeli Government is considering freeing terrorists with Jewish blood on their hands. How many will suffer because of this capitulation?

 

    May the coming Chanukah holiday bring another miracle in freeing Gilad Shalit without having to free even one terrorist, and may the light of peace come to our country and to the world.

 

    Chanukah Sameach!

Out With The Occupiers!

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Anti-Zionists say the Jewish claim to Israel is illegitimate because, before 1948, it had been nearly 1,900 years since Jews exercised sovereignty there – and it is absurd to argue that any group still has rights to land they last governed such a long time ago.
 
But on what basis do they say the Arabs have a legitimate claim to that same land? On the basis of the claim that the Arabs last exercised sovereignty over that land 1,000 years ago. So, while 1,900 year-old-claims are inadmissible, thousand-year-old claims are indisputable.
 
It must be emphasized here that even the thousand-year Arab claim is not the same thing as a claim on behalf of “Palestinian Arabs.” After all, the last time Palestinian Arabs held sovereignty over Palestine was … never.
 
It is true that Arabs once exercised sovereignty over parts or all of historic Palestine. There were small Arab kingdoms in the south of Palestine already in late biblical days; they were important military and political allies of the Jews, who exercised sovereignty back then in the Land of Israel.
 
After the rise of Islam, Palestine was indeed part of a larger Arab kingdom or caliphate. But that ended in 1071, when Palestine came under the rule of the Suljuk Turks. And that was the last time Palestine had an Arab ruler.
 
In any case, why does the fact that Palestine once belonged to a larger Arab empire make it “Arab” when it has also been part of larger Roman, Greek, Persian, Turkish and British empires? 
 
            Why do anti-Zionists insist a thousand-year claim by Arabs who were never ruled by Palestinian Arabs has legitimacy while a 1,900-year claim by Jews should be rejected outright, even though the United Nations granted Israel sovereignty in 1947? The anti-Zionists say it is because the thousand-year Arab claim is more recent than the older Jewish claim.
 
            But that argument can of course be turned around on anti-Zionists, because if national claims to land become more legitimate the more recent they are, then surely the most legitimate claim of all is that of the Jews to Israel, because the modern Jewish state of Israel is a mere 62 years old!
 
The other claim by anti-Zionists is that Jews have no rights to the land of Israel because they moved there from other places. Never mind that there always was a Jewish minority living in the land of Israel, even when it was under the sovereignty of Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Crusaders, Turks or British. Does the fact that Jews moved to the land of Israel from other places disqualify them from exercising sovereignty there?
 
The claim would be nonsensical even if we were to ignore that fact that most Palestinian Arabs also moved to Palestine from neighboring countries, starting in the late nineteenth century. But more generally, does the fact that a people moves from one locality to another deprive it of its claims to legitimate sovereignty in its new abode? Does this necessitate the conclusion that they need to pack up and leave, as anti-Zionists insist?
 
If it does, then it goes without saying that the Americans and Canadians must lead the way by returning to their original owners all lands seized from the Indians and the Mexicans and going back whence they came.
 
For that matter, Mexicans of Spanish ancestry also need to leave. The Anglo-Saxons, meaning the English, will be invited to turn the British isles over to their original Celtic and Druid owners while they return to their own ancestral Saxon homeland in northern Germany and Denmark. The Danes will be asked to move back to their Norwegian and Swedish homelands to make room for the returning Anglo-Saxons.
 
But that is just a beginning. The Spanish will be called on to leave the Iberian Peninsula they wrongfully occupy and return it to the Celtiberians. Similarly the Portuguese occupiers will leave their lands and return them to the Lusitanians. The Magyars will go back where they came from and leave Hungary to its true owners.
 
The Australians and New Zealanders will have to end their occupations of lands that do not belong to them. The Thais will leave Thailand. The Bulgarians will return to their Volga homeland and abandon occupied Bulgaria. Anyone speaking Spanish will be expected to end the forced occupation of Latin America.
 
It goes without saying the French will lose almost all their lands to their rightful owners. The Turks will go back to Mongolia and leave Anatolia altogether, returning it to the Greeks. The Germans will go back to Gotland. The Italians will return the boot to the Etruscans and Greeks.
 
That leaves the Arabs. First, all of northern Africa, from Mauritania to Egypt and Sudan, will be immediately abandoned by the illegal Arab occupiers and returned to its lawful original Berber, Punic, Greek, and Vandal owners. Occupied Syria and Lebanon must be released at once from the cruel occupation of the Arab imperialists.
 
Iraq will be returned to the Assyrians and Chaldeans. Southern Arabia will be handed back to the Abyssinians. The Arabs may retain control of the central portion of the Arabian peninsula as their homeland – but not the oil fields.
 
The Palestinian Arabs will of course have to return the lands they are occupying, turning them over to their legal and rightful owners (the Jews).
 

And right after all this, Israel will be most happy to implement the road map in full.

 

 

Steven Plaut, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.

Two-State Solution – Or Potemkin Peace?

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

The creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel would be a major step in the escalation of the Arab war against Israel even if the resumption of that war is delayed for a brief time while the world celebrates the outbreak of a Potemkin peace in the Middle East, produced by the end of Israeli “occupation” of Palestinians.

Like the famous Potemkin villages that were all fa?ade with no substance, the two-state solution would prove to be nothing more than the signal of the commencement of the next Middle East war.

Human beings seem to have a basic impatience with hearing the truth repeated over long periods of time. In an era in which technology, politics, and science change so rapidly, many consider it implausible that a statement that was true years ago can still be true today.

Surely, they insist, explanations from the past, such as those pertaining to the Middle East conflict, must be obsolete by now, replaced with new updated theories and contemporary perceptions of reality.

No subject has fallen victim to quite so much pseudo-historic revisionism and denial of “out-of date” truths as the Middle East. George Orwell said the first duty of intelligent men is to restate the obvious. Obvious truths about the Middle East need to be restated because they are under assault by so many dishonest men.

We hear so often that the Middle East conflict is mind-numbingly complex. This is a false notion. Actually, the Middle East conflict is extraordinarily simple to understand. Its causes and issues have not changed at all in 60 years. That which produced the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948 is exactly the same thing that stands in the way of any real peace settlement today.

There is one – and only one – cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict, even if that single cause is buried beneath an avalanche of media mud designed to obfuscate and confuse. That single cause is the refusal of the Arab world to come to terms with Israel’s existence within any set of borders whatsoever.

* * *

The Middle East conflict is not about the right of self-determination of Palestinian Arabs, but rather about the total Arab rejection of self-determination for Israeli Jews.

The Arabs today control 22 countries and territory nearly twice the size of the United States (including Alaska), whereas Israel cannot even be seen on most globes or maps. Arabs as an ethnic group control more territory than any other ethnic group on earth. And they refuse to share even a fraction of one percent of the Middle East with the Jews, in a territory smaller than New Jersey.

Without the West Bank, Israel at its narrowest is not even 10 miles wide, about the length of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The main reason the Arab world demands that Israel relinquish the West Bank is so that it can be used to attack Israel.

The Arab world controls such vast amounts of territory and such vast amounts of wealth (thanks to petroleum) that it could have created a homeland for Palestinian Arabs anywhere within its territories at any time.

From 1948 until 1967 the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were both under the rule of Arab states (Jordan and Egypt, respectively). They could easily have set up a Palestinian homeland in those areas. They did not.

The fact is, no Palestinians before 1967 demanded any “homeland,” though they did demand that the Jews be stripped of theirs. This is because Palestinians are not a “people” at all, at least as far as the term has been understood throughout human history.

Until relatively recent times, Palestinians never had any real interest in their own state, and in fact rioted violently in 1920 when the geographical entity called Palestine was detached from Syria by the European powers.

Indeed, the term “nakba” (“catastrophe” in Arabic and in leftist newspeak), used exclusively now to refer to the creation of Israel, actually was coined to refer to the outrage expressed by Palestinians separated from their Syrian homeland.

* * *

Immediately after the Six-Day War, a sudden need for a Palestinian state was fabricated by the Arab world as a gimmick to force Israel back to its pre-1967 borders. The Arab world began agitating for a Palestinian state so that the Palestinians could serve the same role the Sudeten Germans did in the late 1930s. That role was to provide a pretense of legitimacy for the war aims and aggression of a large fascist power.

The term “self-determination” has been repeated as a rhetorical inalienable right for so long that few people recall now that pursuing self-determination can also serve as a tool of aggression on the part of barbarous aggressors and totalitarian powers.

When Hitler decided to embark on a war of conquest in the late 1930s, he dressed up his intentions in the cloak of legitimacy, claiming he was merely interested in “helping disenfranchised and oppressed people attain self-determination.” He distorted the plight of ethnic Germans living in the Czech Sudetenland and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, inventing tales of their oppression and mistreatment.

In reality, of course, these ethnic Germans already had the option of self-determination within the neighboring sovereign German nation-states, and in fact enjoyed far more freedom and rights than did Germans inside Germany.

Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia was prepared through postured indignity over the mistreatment of Germans by Germany’s neighbors. Hitler insisted he was simply seeking to relieve the “misery of mistreated ethnic Germans,” supposedly suffering inside democratic Czechoslovakia.

“Self-determination” was also the pretense when Germany attacked Poland and other countries.

Like Germany before World War II, the Arab world used the method of the Big Lie, with its infinite and mindless repetitions, to invent a fairy tale about Palestinians being mistreated and oppressed by Israel.

The reality is that Arabs living under Israeli rule have always been treated considerably better than Arabs living under Arab regimes, and infinitely better than non-Arab minorities living under Arab regimes.

Jimmy Carter has it completely backward: Israel is the only country in the Middle East that is not an apartheid regime.

Arabs living under Israeli rule are the only Arabs in the Middle East who enjoy freedom of speech and press; free access to courts operating with due process; legal protection for property rights; and the right to vote. And Israeli Arabs have higher standards of education and health than any other group of Arabs in the Middle East.

But then, the Sudeten Germans were never really oppressed either. Israeli Arabs are quite simply the best-treated political minority in the Middle East and are in some ways better treated than minority groups in many European countries.

Israel is the only country in the Middle East that does not deal with Islamist terror through wholesale massacres of the people in whose midst the terrorists operate. The number of innocent Palestinian civilians intentionally killed by Israel is exactly zero. The number of civilians injured in Israeli anti-terror operations is tiny when compared with NATO and Allied military operations in Serbia, Bosnia, Afghanistan, or Iraq.

* * *

The world media, which know even less about the Middle East than they do about other parts of the globe, swallow the anti-Israel disinformation with gusto. And so, as was the case in the late 1930s, a campaign of genocidal aggression enjoys near-universal political support among those who have been snookered into thinking that the Middle East conflict has something to do with “self-determination” and statehood for mistreated Palestinians.

The real goal of the Arab aggressors, as they readily concede to anyone willing to listen, is nothing less than Israel’s extermination. And those who think the state of Israel can be eliminated without a second Holocaust taking place are deluding themselves.

The endless complaints about “human rights violations” by Israel against the Palestinians are a rhetorical part of the broader campaign of aggression against Israeli survival. Arabs living under Israeli rule are the world’s foremost illustration of “Moynihan’s Law,” which holds: “The amount of violations of human rights in a country is always an inverse function of the amount of complaints about human rights violations heard from there. The greater the number of complaints being aired, the better protected are human rights in that country.”

Given the wide support among Palestinians for terrorist atrocities against Jews, the self-restraint and moderation used by Israel in dealing with the threat has no precedent in the world. Israel’s own Arabs make little attempt to hide their open identification with the genocidal enemies of their own country and they by and large support the annihilation of the state in which they hold citizenship.

No other democratic country facing such open sedition and identification with the enemy in time of war ever responded with anywhere near the restraint shown by Israel.

In World War II, when faced with a far less dangerous problem, the United States locked up its ethnic Japanese population in internment camps. Democratic Spain set up teams of death squads to deal with its separatist terrorists. Democracies in war have junked habeas corpus and treated their internal fifth columns as the enemy, with no hesitation or squeamishness.

Democratic Czechoslovakia and India (as well as non-democratic countries throughout Eastern Europe) undertook wholesale expulsions of millions of members of their internal ethnic minorities who had sided with the enemy. Greece and Turkey and the two sections of Cyprus simply expelled their minority populations altogether.

Israel, in contrast, operates affirmative action programs that benefit Arabs; finances Arabic-language schools in which Israeli Arabs preserve and develop their culture; funds Arab municipalities; and turns a blind eye to massive Arab sedition and lawbreaking, including illegal squatting on publicly owned lands.

It is hard to come up with the words needed to mock the ludicrous nature of the complaints about Israeli mistreatment of Arabs. These complaints come from the very people who are apologists for genocidal Islamofascist terrorist movements and for Arab fascist states, regimes that are among the most barbarous and oppressive on earth.

Israel even agreed in principle, foolishly as it turns out, to recognize the legitimacy of Palestinian national ambitions and to relinquish lands to the Palestinian Authority. What it got in exchange was a genocidal fascist Hamastan on its borders, with other terrorist militias operating in the suburbs of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Since the Oslo “peace process” began in the early 1990s, the working hypothesis endorsed by nearly everyone on the planet (including large numbers of IQ-challenged Israeli politicians) has been that the most urgent task at hand is to end the Israeli “occupation” of Palestinian Arabs.

The problem is that any Palestinian state, regardless of who rules it, will produce nothing but escalated violence, terror and warfare in the Middle East, certainly not stability or peaceful relations. It will seek war with Israel and will attempt to draw the entire Muslim world into that war. It will be indifferent to the economic and social problems of its own citizens.

The Israeli left and its amen chorus in the international media have been repeating for so many years that the ultimate cause of Palestinian terrorism and Arab grievances is the “occupation” of “Palestinian lands” by Israel that few are capable any longer of thinking about that assertion critically. But the assertion is wrong. The main cause of anti-Israel terrorism today is the removal of Israeli occupation from Palestinian Arabs.

This is so obvious that it is a major intellectual challenge to explain why so few people understand it, but here are the facts:

Israel ended its occupation of the Gaza Strip in its entirety in 2005 and evicted all the Jews who had been living there. The Israeli withdrawal produced a barrage of many thousands of rockets aimed at Israeli civilians inside Israel (not the “occupied territories” that, we are told, are at the heart of Arab anger with Israel) – a barrage that eventually forced Israel’s reluctant leaders to carry out a full-scale operation against Gaza terrorism earlier this year.

The Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon was unilaterally ended in 2000 by then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. The direct result of that fiasco was the launching of 4,000 Katyusha rockets from Lebanon against northern Israel in the summer of 2006 – and several times that number now poised to strike Israel.

The worst waves of Palestinian suicide attacks were directly triggered by the early Oslo withdrawals – before which there had been no suicide bombings.

There can be no doubt that a complete Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and a return to pre-1967 borders in order to make way for a Palestinian state would trigger a massive rocket and terror assault against the remaining areas of Israel, launched from the “liberated” West Bank. The same thing would result from Israel relinquishing the Golan Heights to Syria.

The promotion of a “two states for two peoples” solution has radicalized most Israeli Arabs, who now identify with and openly support Arab parties and politicians calling for violence against Jews and the destruction of Israel. Even the “moderate” factions within the PLO keep insisting that after such a plan is implemented they will never recognize the right of Jews to have their own state anywhere in the Middle East.

The Arabs still condition any two-state solution on Israel agreeing to being flooded with Arab immigrants purporting to be Palestinians, so that it will morph demographically into the 24th Arab state.

That such a two-state Potemkin solution will not end the conflict, but only signal the commencement of its next stage, has long been the quasi-official position of virtually all Palestinian groups.

The Palestinians tell each other, in their newspapers, their mosques and their internal political debates, that any two-state solution is but a stage in a “plan of stages,” after which will come additional steps ultimately aimed at ending Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.

Why shouldn’t we believe them?

Steven Plaut, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is a professor at the University of Haifa. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.

How ‘Nakba’ Proves There’s No Palestinian Nation

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

      Over the past few years, the term nakba (also spelled naqba) has become the favorite nonsense word of the Anti-Israel Lobby. Meaning “catastrophe” in Arabic, it has been embraced by anti-Semites all over the planet to refer to Israel’s creation, which supposedly imposed a “catastrophe” upon the “disenfranchised Palestinian Arabs.”

 
      Of course, the real catastrophe that befell the Arabs in 1948-49 was that they failed in their attempt to annihilate Israel and exterminate its population, and for that they paid a price.
 
      Meanwhile, Nakba Nonsense has been spreading. Google finds over 85,000 web pages referring to Israel’s creation as a “nakba,” and a Yahoo search finds even more than that. The anti-Israel web magazine Counterpunch cannot mention Israel without using the term. Even Israel’s leftist minister of education, Yuli Tamir, has orderedthat the nakba be taught as partof the curriculum in Israeli schools, where Israel’s schoolchildren can be taught to mourn their own country’s existence.
 
      (Tamir, who was previously a professor of education at Tel Aviv University, is so bizarre that in the summer of 1996 she published an article in the Boston Review defending female circumcision in the Third World and denouncing those who expressed disgust at the practice – see http://bostonreview.net/BR21.3/Tamir.html.)
 
      Nakba ceremonies are now held each year by leftist professors at Israeli universities who mourn the very creation and existence of their country.
 
      The nakba of the late 1940′s and 1950′s that befell large numbers of Jews living in Arab countries who were suddenly expelled, persecuted, and stripped of their property does not interest such people. Those Jewish refugees made new homes in Israel and actually outnumbered the Palestinians who fled.
 
      Meanwhile, an urban legend has been fabricated about the origin of the term “nakba” – a fairy tale that claims the word was a banner waved by Palestinians starting in 1948, and that its very use shows how deep the roots of “Palestinian nationality” go.
 
      So here is a little current events quiz: What is the real origin of the term “nakba” and what is its original meaning?
 
      If you get the answer to the quiz wrong – in other words, if you say it refers to the events of 1948 – you are in very good company. I myself would have flunked the quiz up until a few days ago, when I stumbled on the correct answer. Not only does the bandying about of the “nakba” nonsense word not point to any “depths of roots of Palestinian nationality,” it proves the very opposite: namely, that there is no such thing as a Palestinian nation or nationality at all.
 
      The authoritative source on the origin of “nakba” is none other than George Antonius, supposedly the first “official historian of Palestinian nationalism.” Like so many “Palestinians,” he actually wasn’t – Palestinian, that is. He was a Christian Lebanese-Egyptian who lived for a while in Jerusalem, where he composed his official advocacy/history of Arab nationalism. The Arab Awakening, a highly biased book, was published in 1938 and for years afterward was the official text used at British universities.
 
      Antonius was an “official Palestinian representative” to Britain, trying to argue the cause for creating an Arab state in place of any prospective homeland promised the Jews under the Balfour Declaration of 1917. By the 1930′s Antonius was an active anti-Zionist propagandist, and as such was offered a job at Columbia University (where some things don’t seem to change much).
 
      He served as an academic fig leaf for xenophobic Arab nationalists seeking to deny Jews any right to self-determination in or migration to the Land of Israel. And he was closely associated with the Grand Mufti, Hitler’s main Islamic ally, and also with the pro-German regime in Iraq in the early 1940′s.
 
      Antonius was so passionately anti-Zionist that he continues to serve as the hero and mentor of Jewish leftist anti-Zionists everywhere. For example, the late Hebrew University sociology professor Baruch Kimmerling relied on Antonius at length in his own pseudo-history, Palestinians: The Making of a People (Free Press, 1993).
 
      So how does Antonius provide us with the answer to the current-events quiz concerning the origin of “nakba“? The term was not invented in 1948 but rather in 1920. And it was coined not because of Palestinians suddenly getting nationalistic but because Arabs living in Palestine regarded themselves as Syrian and were enraged at being cut off from their Syrian homeland.
 
      Before World War I, the entire Levant – including what is now Israel, the “occupied territories,” Jordan, Lebanon and Syria – was comprised of Ottoman Turkish colonies. When Allied forces drove the Turks out of the Levant, the two main powers, Britain and France, divided the spoils between them. Britain got Palestine, including what is now Jordan, while France got Lebanon and Syria.
 
      The problem was that the Palestinian Arabs saw themselves as Syrians and were seen as such by other Syrians. The Palestinian Arabs were enraged that an artificial barrier was being erected within their Syrian homeland by the infidel colonial powers – one that would divide northern Syrian Arabs from southern Syrian Arabs, the latter being those who were later misnamed “Palestinians.”
 
      The bulk of the Palestinian Arabs had in fact migrated to Palestine from Syria and Lebanon during the previous two generations, largely to benefit from the improving conditions and job opportunities afforded by Zionist immigration and capital flowing into the area. In 1920, both sets of Syrian Arabs, those in Syria and those in Palestine, rioted violently and murderously.
 
      On page 312 of The Arab Awakening, Antonius writes, “The year 1920 has an evil name in Arab annals: it is referred to as the Year of the Catastrophe (Am al-Nakba). It saw the first armed risings that occurred in protest against the post-War settlement imposed by the Allies on the Arab countries. In that year, serious outbreaks took place in Syria, Palestine, and Iraq.”
 
      Yes, the answer to our little quiz is 1920, not 1948. That’s 1920 – when there was no Zionist state, no Jewish sovereignty, no “settlements” in “occupied territories,” no Israel Defense Forces, no Israeli missiles and choppers targeting terror leaders, and no Jewish control over Jerusalem (which had a Jewish demographic majority going back at least to 1850).
 
      The original “nakba” had nothing to do with Jews, and nothing to do with demands by Palestinian Arabs for self-determination, independence and statehood. To the contrary, it had everything to do with the fact that the Palestinian Arabs saw themselves as Syrians. They rioted at this nakba – at this catastrophe- because they found deeply offensive the very idea that they should be independent from Syria and Syrians.
 
      In the 1920′s, the very suggestion that Palestinian Arabs constituted a separate ethnic nationality was enough to send those same Arabs out into the streets to murder and plunder violently in outrage. If they themselves insisted they were simply Syrians who had migrated to the Land of Israel, by what logic are the Palestinian Arabs deemed entitled to their own state today?
 
      Palestinian Arabs are no more a nation and no more entitled to their own state than are the Arabs of Detroit or of Paris. They certainly are not entitled to four different states: Jordan, Hamastan in Gaza, a PLO state in the West Bank, and Israel converted into yet another Arab state via the granting of a “right of return” to Arab refugees.
 
      Speaking of Palestinians as Syrians, it is worth noting what one of the early Syrian nationalists had to say. The following quote comes from the great-grandfather of the current Syrian dictator, Bashar Assad:
 
      “Those good Jews brought civilization and peace to the Arab Muslims, and they dispersed gold and prosperity over Palestine without damage to anyone or taking anything by force. Despite this, the Muslims declared holy war against them and did not hesitate to massacre their children and women. Thus a black fate awaits the Jews and other minorities in case the Mandates are cancelled and Muslim Syria is united with Muslim Palestine.”
 

      That statement is from a letter sent to the French prime minister in June 1936 by six Syrian Alawi notables (the Alawis are the ruling class in Syria today) in support of Zionism. Bashar’s great-grandfather was one of them.

 

 

      Steven Plaut, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.

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